Sanju Samson made it into the Indian cricket team's playing XI after over four years on Friday. India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has found himself surrounded by intense scrutiny from cricketing fans in recent time, due to inconsistent form with the bat, and behind the stumps as well. Now, in the 3rd T20I against Sri Lanka in Pune, the wicketkeeper-batsman was dropped in place of Samson in India's playing XI. Speaking after losing the toss, and being asked to bowl first, India captain Virat Kohli announced the three changes the team made from the previous T20I.
"We have made three changes today. Sanju Samson comes in place of Rishabh Pant. Chahal replaces Kuldeep who gets a rest today and Manish Pandey gets a game in place of Shivam Dube," he said.
This is Samson's 2nd T20I in Indian jersey. He last played for India back in 2015 in the T20I against Zimbabwe. The Kerala keeper was included in the T20I series against Bangladesh last year after a spectacular performance in the Syed Mushtaq T20 Ali Trophy.
But despite not getting a single game in the three-match series, Samson was dropped from India's T20I squad against West Indies, which led to huge criticism from a section of fans. Later, an injury ruled out Shikhar Dhawan from the squad, and Samson was named as his replacement. But, with Pant being in the playing XI in all the three T20Is, Samson was once again deprived of any playing opportunity.
Here are some interesting stats on Sanju Samson:
- Most T20Is missed between two appearances for India:
73 SANJU SAMSON (2015-20) **
65 Umesh Yadav (2012-18)
56 Dinesh Karthik (2010-17)
43 Mohd Shami (2017-19)
33 Ravindra Jadeja (2017-19)
- Most T20Is missed between two appearances for a team:
79 J Denly (2010-18)
74 L Plunkett (2006-15)
73 M Udawatte (2009-17)
73 S SAMSON (2015-20) **
72 F Maharoof (2008-16)
India currently lead the three-match T20I series 1-0. The Virat Kohli-led side won the 2nd T20I by 7 wickets, while the first T20I was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to wet pitch.